Fantasy Football: Each NFL Team's Most Viable Sleeper
Every year in fantasy football, there are those players who seem to come out of nowhere to put up huge stats and shake up the normal order of leagues.
Here's a look at the best sleeper candidates for each team in the NFL.
Some are rookies, some are second year players coming of age, and some are old familiar faces who might be getting their "second wind."
Arizona Cardinals - Tim Hightower
Beanie Wells had more touches last year for Arizona, but Hightower did the most with his opportunities. Along with 598 yards, he had eight touchdowns and a 4.2 yard per carry average.
In addition, he had 63 receptions and was Kurt Warner's favorite outlet target. Look for Matt Leinart to rely on him heavily, and he will put up some big numbers again this year.
Atlanta Falcons – Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez had six TDs to go with 83 receptions and 867 yards last year.
The chemistry between him and Matt Ryan should grow stronger this year, and his numbers will increase as well.
Baltimore Ravens – Derrick Mason
With most of the fantasy attention on Anquan Boldin, don't forget about Derrick Mason who had 1,023 yards in 2009 with 73 receptions and seven TDs.
All of the opposing defenses' attention on Boldin may do wonders for Mason's numbers and your fantasy points.
Buffalo Bills – C.J. Spiller
It's the Buffalo Bills, so there aren't any fantasy studs on this offense. Still yet, the rookie Spiller may get an opportunity to show what he can do this season.
If his flashy college moves translate well into the pros, he could score a few points
Carolina Panthers – Matt Moore
Moore proved last year that he has some good potential as a quarterback. If he can find a way to deliver the ball to Steve Smith, with plenty of dump-offs to his stud running backs, he could put up some big numbers in 2010.
Chicago Bears - Devin Hester
Jay Cutler's favorite target last year was tight end Greg Olsen, but don't look for the trend to continue. Devin Hester should see a lot more action this season, and with a closer bond with Cutler, he should be the main fantasy attraction in Chicago.
Cincinnati Bengals - Terrell Owens
It's hard to put Owens under the "sleeper" category, given the fact the he's hard to ignore. But, in terms of fantasy points, look for him to thrive in an offense where Ochocinco should get most of the defensive attention.
Cleveland Browns - Jerome Harrison
Harrison had a 4.4 yard per carry average last year on 862 yards and five touchdowns.
Nobody is really talking about him in fantasy circles, but if he gets a chance at a heavier workload this year, he could turn out to be a steal.
Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones
Jones has big play potential every time he touches the ball, even though Dallas gave him limited opportunities last year with only 116 carries. If he gets a chance to run more often, he should make any fantasy owner happy.
Denver Broncos - Jabar Gaffney
With Brandon Marshall gone to Miami, Gaffney will be depended on as the Broncos No. 1 receiver. Look for him to become Orton's go-to man.
Detroit Lions - Kevin Smith
Smith didn't put up extraordinary numbers in 2009, but he was a solid performer. He had 747 yards rushing to go along with 41 receptions for 415 yards. He developed a good relationship with quarterback Matthew Stafford last year, which should progress this year into much better stats.
Green Bay Packers - Jermichael Finley
Finley really showed some growth in his second year in 2009, when he had 55 receptions for 676 yards and five TDs. With most of the defense's eyes on Ryan Grant, Donald Driver, and Greg Jennings, Finley should have another big year in this offense.
Houston Texans - Kevin Walter
Walter should benefit from another year of playing opposite Andre Johnson, who draws constant double-teams. With question marks in the Houston running game, Walter should see a lot of balls thrown his way.
Indianapolis Colts - Austin Collie
Wow…where did Collie come from? In his first year, he had 60 receptions for 676 yards and seven TDs.
After a full year of growing in this offense, and with most pass coverages focusing on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, Collie may have a huge year in 2010.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Mike Sims-Walker
With all of the fantasy attention on Maurice Jones-Drew, Sims-Walker may be a gem pickup.
He quietly had a solid year, with 63 receptions, 869 yards, and seven TDs. Now that he has shown his potential, look for Garrard to find him more often.
Kansas City Chiefs - Jamaal Charles
On a bad Chiefs team, Charles quietly had a monster year, rushing for 1,120 yards on only 190 carries (5.9 yards/carry average) to go with seven TDs. If the Chiefs give him more touches this season, Charles might make a case for one of the top backs in the entire league.
Miami Dolphins - Davonne Bess
Bess had a decent year in 2009, catching 76 balls for 758 yards. He will benefit greatly from the presence of Brandon Marshall on the other side, and he should see many more opportunities for big plays.
Minnesota Vikings - Bernard Berrian
Berrian was fourth in receptions on the team last year with 55, but his number should be called more often this year. With defenses honing in on Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, Berrian should find ways to be wide open this season.
New England Patriots - Julian Edelman
Edelman had a decent rookie year with 37 receptions and 359 yards. After a year to settle into his role, he'll probably be targeted much more often by Tom Brady, especially if Welker misses the early part of the season.
New Orleans Saints - Robert Meachum
Meachum only caught 45 passes in the regular season last year, but he averaged a monster 16.0 yards per catch to go along with nine touchdowns. He was the biggest play receiver on the whole Saints team last year, and Brees will be on the look-out for him again in 2010.
New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks
Nicks had an excellent start to his pro career, with 47 catches for 790 yards and six TDs. His 16.8 yards per catch average shows his big play potential, and he may eclipse Steve Smith as the best receiver on this team this year.
New York Jets - Shonn Greene
With the departure of Thomas Jones, Greene should see a heavy workload this year. If he can continue with the 5.0/yards per carry average that he had last year, he should do well in fantasy leagues.
Oakland Raiders - Michael Bush
The Raiders are not exactly loaded with offensive weapons outside of Zach Miller, but Bush had some good numbers, especially his 4.8 yard/carry average on 589 yards. If he gets a chance to rush more often, he should have his fair share of big plays.
Philadelphia Eagles - Michael Vick
It's doubtful that Vick will see any starts at quarterback, but as a wildcat option, he could do some damage. If Andy Reid has developed more play-calls for Vick this year, he could potentially put up some big numbers via a few big plays per game.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Wallace
Wallace flashed some big play ability in his first year as a pro, and he had a 19.4 yards/reception average. He only had 39 catches total, but he had 756 yards and six TDs.
With Santonio Holmes gone, Wallace will have to step up as the number two receiver opposite Hines Ward. If he progresses from his rookie year, he could turn out to be a real weapon for this offense.
San Diego Chargers - Ryan Matthews
Why not go with the rookie? Norv Turner will be dying to see what his new toy can do, and Matthews will get plenty of chances to prove himself. He has all of the physical tools to make big plays in this league.
San Francisco 49ers - Michael Crabtree
Crabtree had a respectable rookie season, with 48 catches for 625 yards and two touchdowns. This was despite missing training camp because of a holdout.
After learning the offense, and with a full year under his belt, Crabtree should be ready to shine in 2010. There's no reason why he shouldn't approach 100 catches this season.
Seattle Seahawks - Justin Forsett
Forsett busted out last year with a 5.4 yards/carry average on 619 yards. If Pete Carroll gives him the chance to be the featured back this year, he could provide the Hawks with some big numbers on the ground.
St. Louis Rams - Laurent Robinson
If not for breaking his fibula in Week Three of last season, Robinson was on his way to being the Rams' leading receiver in 2009. He has plenty of big play capability, and he should be the best option in the Rams' passing game this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Arrelious Benn
There aren't any juggernaut receivers on this team outside of Kellen Winslow, but the rookie Benn might be a sleeper this year. If he can develop some early chemistry with Josh Freeman, he will have plenty of shots at making plays in this offense.
Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt
Britt made some noise as a rookie with 42 catches for 701 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had a very impressive 16.7 yards/catch.
Britt should develop nicely in 2010, and look for him to hook up with Vince Young early and often.
Washington Redskins - Clinton Portis
Portis couldn't have been considered a sleeper in the past, but he is being largely ignored this year. He's healthy again this year, and he's in a familiar scheme after being reunited with coach Mike Shanahan.
Portis is motivated this year, and he still has enough gas in the tank to have one more season of upper echelon stats.